My neighbor's wireless wasn't working so she popped over to borrow mine. While she was typing on her laptop she kept swishing her hand across her face. Shooing away a small swarm of teensy black bugs.
My sunny window is all abuzz with Fungus Gnats.* I noticed that while taking pictures for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. It's pretty pathetic when flower photos require a touch up ~ to hide the bugs. There is, however, an upside to this dilemma. Betty prefers her dinner while it's still wiggling.
What's that, you say? You're not buying that top picture?
Want your kids to love gardening?
Buy them a Venus Fly Trap.
Oh, fine. Here's a more realistic pic of baby Betty, the Venus Fly Trap ~ a dainty, mild-mannered, little carnivore ~ who'll live out her days in this old fish bowl. I'm secretly hoping she grows to magnificent proportions (and, sings that outrageous song from the musical,* too!) Though chances are much more likely she'll gobble a bug or two and then kick the bucket.
I love entertaining little kids with this perennial.
Place a dead bug between her leaves and rub it against the trigger hairs. (An eyebrow tweezer makes a good 'spoon' for feeding Betty.) Her leaves will snap shut on the bug and the kids will go nuts.
Intent on keeping her alive?
They're happiest as terrarium plants, in a hot, humid environment, with poor, acidic soil. In the wild, she's quite often submerged and none too sad about the ordeal.
- Don't, whatever you do, feed her hamburger. (Gives her indigestion.) Don't feed anybody hamburger. Nobody knows for sure what goes into that stuff...
- Even if she looks dead, she might not be. Fly Traps go dormant in winter for several months. Rejoin the living, come spring.
- And, while she's two tons of fun, she'll do nothing to eradicate black bug problems.
Those pesky black flies die quickly in dry soil. If your houseplants can't cope with a week of drought, try sticking double-sided tape on the flower pots.
* Little Shop of Horrors movie, 1986